Learning Accommodations

I need help navigating the learning accommodations process

What are learning accommodations?

The goal of learning accommodations is to give students with physical, cognitive, and psychological conditions the best possible chance at academic excellence. And because everyone’s condition colours their learning academic experience differently, learning accommodations can vary. From changes to the physical learning environment to the way you take assessments, the University Health Centre’s doctors will recommend learning accommodation specific to the type and degree of your condition.

Who decides the conditions that warrant learning accommodations?

The decision on what conditions warrant learning accommodations needs to be made by a medical professional. Yale-NUS follows the NUS policy of requiring learning accommodation to be certified by a doctor at the University Health Centre (UHC). This ensures an equitable experience across our student body. Likewise, your accommodations will be in effect should you take courses at NUS in addition to at Yale-NUS.

What kind of conditions typically receive learning accommodations?

Accommodations may be recommended for conditions that are primarily physical (e.g. vision or hearing conditions that require altered learning formats and environments), neurological processing conditions (e.g. dyslexia, dyscalculia, visual perceptual, low working memory), cognitive/psychological conditions (e.g. severe depression or debilitating anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder), or social/behavioural conditions (e.g. autism spectrum diagnoses). Doctors may look at the type of condition but also the degree of that condition when recommending accommodations.

What kind of learning accommodations are available?

A non-exhaustive list of learning accommodations include:

  • Quiet room
  • Classmate note-takers/ transcribers – where available
  • Clean or scrubbed laptop use for examinations
  • Extra time
  • Formula Sheets

What do I do if I have a diagnosed disability before arriving at Yale-NUS?

If you already have a diagnosis before arriving at Yale-NUS, you should bring all relevant information with you to your mandatory University Health Centre (UHC) doctor’s appointment during orientation. Ensure that you have an updated and valid medical assessment of your condition. UHC will only consider as valid assessments completed within the previous 2 years at the time of matriculation. If your diagnostic material is older than two years, it is recommended that you complete an updated assessment, rather than simply appending note from a doctor stating “still valid.”

Do learning accommodations apply to remote learning?

Yes, you can request for your learning accommodations to be supported regardless of the classroom setting (in-person and remote learning). Make an appointment to meet with your professors to discuss your learning need so they can know how to support you.

How does an accommodation work for a sudden injury?

These accommodations work the same way as more long-term disabilities and conditions. You must visit the University Health Centre (UHC) and discuss appropriate accommodations with a doctor there, who will notify NUS Registrar’s Office and Yale-NUS Registry Office as to the recommended accommodation and the duration of that accommodation. For this reason, you should go to UHC as soon as possible following your accident or injury.

What do I do if I suddenly find myself in a condition that impairs my learning?

Please reach out so we can assist. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the Learning Accommodations process. Alternatively, you should schedule a session with our Learning Accommodations student associate for guidance.

How do I update/recertify my learning accommodations?

Certain conditions change over time, and so will your needs for learning accommodations. Renewing your accommodations with the University Health Centre (UHC) will ensure your learning accommodations are up-to-date, to best meet your current needs. When you receive notification from Yale-NUS Registry about your recommended accommodations, they will notify you of how long the accommodation is in effect. Some accommodations will be issued for the duration of a student’s enrollment at Yale-NUS/NUS. These accommodations are typically issued for conditions that are not likely to change with time, medication, or therapy (such a significant physical or cognitive disability). However, other accommodations are recommended for conditions that may abate with time (such as a treatable physical condition or shorter-term psychological condition). If you receive an accommodation in this second category, you will be told how long that recommended accommodation is in effect, usually one or two semesters. If the condition has not improved, you will need to return to UHC for recertification.

If you believe that the nature of your learning need is such that an accommodation should be granted to all subjects across all years of study, you should explicitly make that known in your conversations with UHC doctors. It is the student’s responsibility to note the details of any accommodations that they are granted. If you have concerns about the accommodations and how long they are to be granted, students can raise those concerns with the doctors at the UHC.

How do exchange students with pre-existing learning accommodations by their home institution arrange for learning accommodations?

If you receive learning accommodations at your home university, you need to have your home university provide you with a letter stating the specific accommodations you receive. This letter should come from your home institution’s disability/ learning accommodations office (or equivalent) and be on the official university letterhead, signed, and dated. Submit the letter along with other assessment documents (email learning@yale-nus.edu.sg) to the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL), so that we can consolidate the documents as part of your learning accommodation case to Yale-NUS Registry.

In most cases, exchange students will then have these accommodations certified and communicated to their professors for the time they are at Yale-NUS. In some cases, further assessment of your diagnostic materials by the University Health Centre (UHC) will be required. For that reason, we strongly urge all exchange students to bring any relevant diagnostic material and medical records with them to Singapore.

How do I take the first step toward learning accommodations?

How do I initiate the process of securing learning accommodations?

Being in the right mindset makes all the difference. Some of us come from environments where support systems like learning accommodations are completely foreign, so the process can seem intimidating. It’s also okay to feel undeserving or stressed out by the idea of getting extra help. Those are very common feelings.

We recommend that you schedule an appointment with the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) staff or the CTL learning accommodations student associate (SA). Our learning accommmodation SA is trained to navigate you through every step of the learning accommodations process, as well as refer you to other support systems should you need them. Visit the CTL learning accommodation webpage for more information.

How do I arrange an assessment with the University Health Centre (UHC)?

You can schedule an initial appointment with UHC’s doctors over the phone at 6601 5035, or by emailing them at uhc_health@nus.edu.sg.

In the event that you feel like you need support during your UHC appointment, the learning accommodations student associate can accompany you for the actual consultation and advocate for your condition. To help you with this, the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) has put together a checklist of what help you navigate the Learning Accommodations process.

Can I arrange an assessment with another clinic or doctor instead of going to University Health Centre (UHC)?

Yes. If you prefer you can seek out assessment by another doctor. When you do so, we recommend you be very explicit that you want to be assessed for learning accommodations and ask the doctor to provide you with a letter with as much detail as possible regarding your diagnosis, condition(s), and the specific learning accommodations that they recommend. Once you have those materials the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) can submit a request to UHC for learning accommodaitons on your behalf and track the progress of that request. Alternatively you can take that material to UHC directly yourself. Please be aware that while UHC will often accept external doctor recommendations without requiring additional visits, UHC may sometimes require students to come to see their own doctors for additional assessment.

What will the assessment be like?

Like most medical consultations, the doctors at University Health Centre (UHC) will prompt you for an overview of your condition. It’s important that you explain your condition in a succinct manner. To help you with this, the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) has put together a checklist of what to mention here.

How much does it cost to cover the learning accommodation assessment?

According to the University Health Centre (UHC), for full-time undergraduate students, there is no charge for short or long consultation, or for standard medication. For specialist consultation of a psychiatric nature within UHC, there is a deposit of $10, but follow-up consultations are free of charge. This is a one-time $10 refundable deposit that is collected prior to your scheduled appointment. The deposit is refunded when you have been discharged from a follow-up appointment.  However, some specialised assessments, including psychological tests, requires you be referred to a doctor outside of UHC and these tests can be expensive.

The exact cost will depend on the nature of the test/ assessment, and can cost $300 or more and will typically not be covered by student insurance. Additionally, waiting times can be lengthy, even several months long. For this reason, we encourage students to go to UHC for initial assessment and advice as early as possible so they can start the sometimes lengthy process of having their needs properly assessed and any accommodations identified. More information on billing is available at https://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/general-health/billing-insurance/fees-and-charges.

Can I seek financial assistance to cover the cost of the learning accommodation assessment?

Students may or may not be able to cover the costs of specialised medical and psychological care. Diagnostic testing for learning disabilities can sometimes be many hundred or even thousands of dollars. If you have demonstrated financial need and have determined that you require neurological-psychological testing for learning disabilities, you can seek full or partial financial assistance through Student Services if required. For more information on the reimbursement process, email learning@yale-nus.edu.sg.

I don’t know if learning accommodations are right for me?

I have a medically recognised, pre-existing condition that impedes my academic progress.

If you already have a diagnosis before arriving at Yale-NUS, you should bring all relevant information with you to your mandatory University Health Centre (UHC) doctor’s appointment during orientation. Ensure that you have an updated and valid medical assessment of your condition. UHC will only recognise assessments completed within the previous 2 years at the time of matriculation as valid. If your diagnostic material is older than two years, it is recommended that you complete an updated assessment, rather than simply attaching a note from your doctor stating “still valid”.

I have a medically recognised, pre-existing condition that impedes my academic progress, and I also have learning accommodations outlined by a private doctor.

At Yale-NUS, we follow the NUS policy of requiring learning accommodations to be certified by a doctor at the University Health Centre (UHC). This ensures an equitable experience across our student body and that your accommodations will be in effect should you take courses at NUS in addition to at Yale-NUS. UHC doctors have the necessary depth and breadth of experience to provide relevant diagnoses for our diverse student body and have referral services already well developed when specialists are necessary. UHC also provides a relatively affordable resource for our students, as consultations are typically free for all undergraduates and diagnostic tests range from SGD5-30 per test. More information on billing is available at https://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/general-health/billing-insurance/fees-and-charges.

We have spoken at length with UHC staff about Yale-NUS’ distinct curriculum and some of its distinguishing characteristics, such as the common curriculum and its emphasis on seminar discussion and student participation. This helps UHC doctors anticipate student needs and make recommended accommodations that are appropriate to our learning environment.

I do not have a medically recognised, pre-existing condition, but I think I need help to be sure.

If you believe you may be eligible for learning accommodations, the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) can assist you through the relevant process (please contact learning@yale-nus.edu.sg). That process will begin with an appointment with the University Health Centre (UHC) doctors to provide you with a diagnosis and, if appropriate, to make recommended accommodations. It is important that you bring any relevant diagnostic information with you to UHC and that you clearly indicate on arrival that you wish to be assessed for learning accommodations. For UHC clinic hours and contact information visit: http://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/.

I do not have a medically recognised, pre-existing condition, but I find myself under-performing in my academic progress.

If you feel you are struggling to keep up in your courses, take comfort in the fact that this experience is entirely normal. That said, it is important to keep in mind that learning disabilities are just one of many reasons you may be having a challenging time. Every student adjusts to Yale-NUS’ academic expectations differently.

We encourage you to take advantage of the many resources on campus that can help you develop strategies for some of these difficulties:

  • talk to your peers
  • RCAs, and RLOs
  • visit with your faculty (go to office hours and tell your professor about your confusion!)
  • peer tutoring programme
  • set up an appointment with the Wellness Centre

At the same time that academic struggle does not mean a student has a learning disability, academic success does not necessarily mean a student does not have a disability or inhibiting condition. A student who performs very well in a subject might learn even more and perform even better with appropriate accommodations which off-set an inhibiting condition like ADHD, dyslexia, poor working memory, extremely slow reading rate, debilitating anxiety, etc.

What parties are involved in my learning accommodations journey?

Student’s Role

The student is expected to initiate the process to obtain recommended accommodations from the University Health Centre (UHC) or an external provider.

Thereafter, any student receiving accommodation is expected to communicate their needs promptly to the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) so that those accommodations can be implemented. For example, if a student qualifies for extended time exams, they need to schedule those exams with the CTL as soon as they know their exam date.

Lastly, it is a student’s responsibility to alert the CTL, and/or their professors, if there are any problems or deficiencies with their accommodations.

Should you feel overwhelmed or unfamiliar with how to start, schedule a meeting with the learning accommodations SA to get the ball rolling here.

Yale-NUS Registry’s Role

When a student has been certified for learning accommodations by University Health Centre (UHC), the NUS Registrar’s Office is notified, and NUS Registrar’s Office in turn notifies the Yale-NUS Registry Office as to what learning accommodations the student has been recommended. Yale-NUS Registry subsequently emails the student, Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL), all the instructors of the student’s classes, and their Assistant Dean, to inform them of the accommodations. Information regarding the student’s diagnosis is not shared with the Assistant Dean or Professors, only the recommended accommodations.

Faculty’s Role

The College is committed to creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students. Faculty are expected to implement the University Health Centre (UHC) recommended accommodations, which are communicated to them by the Yale-NUS Registry at the beginning of each semester, as long as they are feasible within the context of the course’s learning goals and the professor’s own abilities. Sometimes a recommended accommodation might not make sense within Yale-NUS’s learning context. For example, a UHC doctor might recommend that a student receive lecture notes in advance of a class. If a faculty member does not teach through lecturing and instead teaches in a more seminar-conversation mode, then they cannot implement this accommodation. In such cases, the professor, student, and staff from the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) can discuss alternatives that might achieve the same goal given the student’s learning needs.

Faculty are always expected to uphold confidentiality and should not reveal any identifying information about the student (including name, nationality, gender etc.) to colleagues or students.

UHC’s Role

The University Health Centre (UHC) provides the relevant diagnoses and makes recommendations for accommodations based on individual student needs. If you want to be assessed for a learning accommodation you need to go to UHC in person to meet with a doctor there. It is important that you bring any relevant diagnostic information with you to UHC and that you clearly indicate on arrival that you wish to be assessed for learning accommodations. For UHC clinic hours and contact information visit: http://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/. The UHC doctors may want to see you more than once and/or refer you to a specialist.

The CTL’s Role

The Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) helps students and faculty implement the learning accommodations recommended by the University Health Centre (UHC) doctors. One staff member within the CTL serves as Learning Accommodations Coordinator for Yale-NUS and takes the lead in developing protocols and supporting both students and faculty in the implementation of accommodations. However, all CTL staff may help in the implementation and proctoring of exams. No CTL staff perform diagnoses or make recommendations for learning accommodations. The CTL receives information about the type of accommodation a student has been prescribed by UHC, and CTL reaches out to students and faculty to explain what resources are available to help. Examples of these include: seeking a note-taker for a student, proctoring exams in a quiet room, proctoring exams with time extensions.

How will my learning accommodations be communicated?

How will faculty be notified about my learning accommodations?

Yale-NUS Registry Office will notify the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) and faculty members if a student in their class receives a certain accommodation (not the diagnosis) when Round 3 of registration is complete, which is usually in Week 3 of the semester. The CTL will then send a follow-up email to the faculty members, offering relevant assistance and support in the implementation of those accommodations. For students who secure their learning accommodation midway through the semester, Yale-NUS Registry Office will notify the CTL and faculty members once they receive the information from NUS Registrar’s Office.

Student can request the CTL (learning@yale-nus.edu.sg) to send an early notification to the faculty member if their accommodations need to be initiated early, perhaps because a course they are taking has weekly exams or deadlines, or their accommodation is not specific to exams/ assignments but instead to classroom management. Students can also inform their professors as soon as they receive the formal notification from the NUS Registrar’s Office.

Who will know about my Learning Accommodations?

The nature of the accommodation process means that staff affiliated with the NUS Registrar’s office, Yale-NUS Registry Office, and the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL), as well as your faculty and Assistant Dean (AD), will be aware of the accommodations being provided. If you participate in a CIPE-sponsored credit bearing course (e.g. Week 7) the relevant CIPE leader will be notified of your accommodations as well. The CTL will sometimes need to employ student associates to proctor exams. Those students will be given confidentiality training and will be selected for their professionalism and discretion. All notified parties are expected to uphold confidentiality and not to disclose any identifying information about students who require accommodations. Your faculty and your Assistant Dean will only know your accommodations, not your diagnosis/ condition unless you disclose this information. (In some cases, however, such as vision impairment or hearing impairment it is probably inevitable that the diagnosis will be clearly inferred from the accommodations needed.)

NUS Registrar’s Office, Yale-NUS Registry, and the Learning Accommodations Coordinator (working within the CTL) will be informed about the student’s diagnosis as well as their accommodations, in order to anticipate needs they will have during their time at Yale-NUS. Knowing what kinds of diagnoses give rise to what kinds of recommended accommodations also allows the Learning Accommodations Coordinator within the CTL to anticipate needs future students might have, and thus better serve future students to navigate the accommodations process.

Parents are not informed of a students accommodations status and this information is never included on a students transcript or public-facing records.

What should I do if I feel like my confidentiality or safety has been unnecessarily breached?

Please inform the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL, learning@yale-nus.edu.sg) about your concerns. The CTL will follow up with the relevant party whom you feel has breached confidentiality. If you do not feel comfortable discussing this with the CTL, you should talk to your Assistant Dean or the Dean of Faculty.

Will learning accommodations affect the integrity of my academic experience?

Will I get preferential treatment with learning accommodations?

The College holds all students to the same high academic standards and rigorous graduation requirements. Learning accommodations do not reduce student learning or diminish standards. Rather, they enable students with disabilities or other learning impediments to fully participate in the Yale-NUS academic experience.

I have conditions that warrant learning accommodations, but I have yet to complete an assessment by University Health Centre (UHC)? Can I get learning accommodations for tests/exams/assignments prior to UHC’s approval of learning accommodations?

Accommodations cannot be implemented retroactively and Yale-NUS will only implement accommodations that are formally recommended by the University Health Centre (UHC). In some cases, there may be a lag time between the day when a student decides to seek diagnosis and the day that UHC issues recommended accommodations. In this situation, a student would need to take their exams/ complete assignments under the same conditions as their peers. It would be inappropriate for the College to implement a learning accommodation which will not necessarily be recommended. A student who has a short-term medical condition that requires a short-term accommodation can secure a Medical Certificate from the UHC with that recommendation included.

Can learning accommodations exempt me from certain Common Core requirements due?

No. All Yale-NUS students must complete the common curriculum in order to gain a Yale-NUS degree. It is a defining feature of the Yale-NUS experience and something all students know to be required when joining the college. However, we will work with students to implement recommended accommodations within the context of the common curriculum and to help students learn and perform to the best of their abilities.

What should I do if my professor does not honor my University Health Centre (UHC) recommended accommodations?

If a student finds that a professor is not honouring their accommodations, as communicated by Yale-NUS Registry, they can contact the Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) at learning@yale-nus.edu.sg for assistance. They can also reach out to their Assistant Dean or the Dean of Faculty. No kind of discrimination in the classroom is tolerated in the College. If the student is comfortable, they may also want to discuss their accommodation with the professor directly; there may be a simple miscommunication which can be resolved. But students are not obligated to have these conversations on their own with faculty, which can sometimes be a daunting prospect in which case you are encouraged to reach out to one of the many points of contact mentioned above.

 

Updated on 20 April 2021

Learning Accommodations Link